Each day it’s looking more and more like U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner may just unseat embattled U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. As Republicans clamor to stake their claim in helping Gardner’s campaign, Democrats, it would appear, are taking the opportunity to start setting the loss narrative in two separate articles.
A Mother Jones article starts off comparing 2014 to 2010, noting that 2010’s polls showed the Republican ahead until the week of the election and that John Hickenlooper faced a “strongly conservative candidate” then too. We’re laughing. Mother Jones’ attempts to boost the morale of its weary liberal soldiers rings hollow to those actually in Colorado, who recognize that 2014 has been an incredible year for Republicans. First, Gov. Hickenlooper has never faced a real opponent before Bob Beauprez – sorry, Mother Jones, Dan Maes in 2010 was just a disaster of a candidate. Another difference between 2014 and 2010 is that Democrats are making the campaign mistakes this go-round, instead of Republicans. This point wasn’t exactly acknowledged, but alluded to in the article.
And, here’s where the ‘splaining comes in. In briefly highlighting Rob Witwer’s “The Blueprint” book about how the left spent hundreds of millions, and subsequent movie created from its data, the article admits that the left’s infrastructure dominance may be coming to an end.
“No one can say for certain if the Colorado GOP’s efforts to play catchup are just talk or real at this point. Witwer, the legislator-turned-author, says he believes his party has finally seen the light. “There is a sense within the party that the GOP is closing the gap,” he insists. Various leaders on the left scoffed at this, pointing out that they have seen and heard little on the ground from their opponents…. Even if Republicans don’t get their act together in 2014, the Democrats on the ballot—especially Mark Udall—face a daunting challenge…. To have a chance next week, Udall’s campaign must mobilize voters at an unprecedented level and, as Bennet did in 2010, win big among unaffiliated women, Latinos, and young people. The early voting numbers have, not unexpectedly, been bleak for Udall. Republicans have out-voted Democrats by a 10 percent margin as of Sunday.”
In many ways, the right’s infrastructure has surpassed the left’s infrastructure. For example, ColoradoPols, the left’s counterpart to The Peak, wasn’t even mentioned in the article. And, perhaps with good reason. Despite having similar scores on Alexa, a website traffic estimator, Pols gets approximately 30% of its traffic from India. And, that’s just one example that we can speak authoritatively on.
And, over the weekend, Cokie Roberts, again, not exactly a Republican apologist, told MSNBC that Udall has run just a terrible campaign, saying:
“It’s interesting when you look at Colorado and how far behind Udall is and I do think some of that is that he’s raged this “war on women” campaign that has just been relentless and really gotten him into trouble. But it’s also interesting that we’re not seeing that Hispanic turnout there.”
Then, there’s the Eli Stokols Politico article. It’s well-known that when Democrats want to dump a story, Stokols is likely their first call. In the article, Stokols highlights the challenges Democrats have faced this year:
- A flawed candidate: “For whatever reason, [Udall] has seemed somewhat out of sorts all year.”
- Stale messaging: “With a week to go, many Democrats here are worried they’ve suddenly become overly reliant on a successful but increasingly stale playbook, leveraging abortion politics to win over moderate and Republican women. They’re running the same ads against Gardner that we saw used against other Republican candidates in 2010 and 2012….”
- Media browbeating: “He would also take a beating from one of the most influential newspapers in the state. When Udall met with the Denver Post’s editorial board and Dean Singleton, its cantankerous publisher, Singleton’s first question to Udall, according to sources close to both campaigns, was: ‘Why does your campaign think the only part of a woman that matters is her vagina?'” Welcome to Republicans’ reality, Sen.
Even Udall is working hard to manage expectations in the Politico article:
“Udall, an avid outdoorsman seemingly more at ease navigating unforgiving mountain terrain than the topography of a modern campaign, sat across the aisle from his colleague smiling nervously like a kid along for the ride. ‘He’s like the head coach,’ Udall said of Bennet. ‘I’m just hoping to keep my spot on the team.'”
In a state that liberals claim has turned reliably blue, a Republican win would undermine the left’s claims that their election model is unstoppable. The election in 2013 proved that there is a limit to what money can deliver in elections – despite spending $12 million on a campaign to raise Colorado’s taxes by a billion dollars, the initiative went down in flames. If 2013 is a harbinger for 2014, the left may have hit its ceiling.